Tamarind Chilli Spread

I was at work. Long meetings, watching the clock, hungry and waiting for lunch. Lunch would be great – at a friend’s place. There’s always great food. Mind wanders and continue to watch the clock.

Lunch is fantastic – lots of great South Indian food. But the best part was this chili and tamarind spread – a little glass jar was left on the table for anyone who needed a little spice. I kept it close by and couldn’t stop having tiny spoons of it.

I shamelessly asked if I could take the leftovers of the spread home. And my host graciously packed it up for me.

I spent the afternoon at work day-dreaming of going home and recreating that spread! (Needless to say, my entire day was spent thinking of lunch and not getting much work done!).

I came home and immediately wanted to taste and recreate it. Because I seriously want to have it with every single meal. Spread on toast for breakfast, or paired with idlis and dosas, or mixed with rice for lunch, or mixed in with my veggies as a salad for dinner. This little spread makes every meal better!

Sadly, I couldn’t come up with a catchier funnier name, but I swear my version is exactly (if not slightly better) than the original. 😊

Tamarind Chilli Spread

6 green chillies

  • A lime-sized ball of tamarind paste, dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad dal
  • 2 tbsp jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt, to taste

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan. Add the green chilies and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Grind the cooled green chilies and salt together in a blender, to a fine paste.

Heat the other tablespoon of sesame oil in a pan. Add the mustard and Urad dal. Heat until the mustard begins to splutter. Add the 1/2 cup of tamarind water, the green chilli mixture, the asafetida and the jaggery.

Mix well and let it come to a boil. Add a little bit of water at a time if the mixture is very thick. It should have the consistency of tomato ketchup.

Boil until the raw tamarind smell disappears, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy! 🙂


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